Having loved Ben Hatch's accounts of his marathon journeys with his family around Britain and France in Are We Nearly There Yet? and Road to Rouen respectively I was really looking forward to this book but unlike the previous two books this is fictional so would I enjoy it as much?
Happily the answer is a resounding yes. The diary writer, a young man called Jay Golden reminded me of Holden Caulfield. He is on the brink of adulthood but the idea of what he perceives to be a mundane 9 to 5 existence horrifies him. He loses one job after another and is constantly at odds with his father. At first Jay isn't always the easiest person to like, however, as the book progresses I warmed to this young man trying to find his place in the world whilst experiencing the highs and lows of first love and as we gradually learn, struggling to cope with the death of his mum. Having lost my own mum to cancer when I wasn't much older than Jay meant it was at times a painful read but crying because you've been moved by what you're reading is a sign of a good book in my eyes. Knowing from Ben's works of non-fiction that The P45 Diaries is semi-autobiographical made it all the more poignant.
This is a book that will have you sighing with exasperation, snorting with laughter and wiping away the tears. It's honest, funny and very very moving. I'm sure Ben Hatch fans and those new to his books will thoroughly enjoy The P45 Diaries, I certainly did.
The P45 is available for download on the Kindle